For a very long time now I have wanted to see puffins in the flesh. The closest place to me in Dublin, Ireland was down in Wexford on the Saltee Islands off Kilmore Quay. The Saltee Islands are privately owned by the Neale family who have a house on the island and visit occasionally. If you know them, please say thank you from me- as I had one of the best days of my life there recently.
You can access the island by ferry by booking at https://salteeferry.com/ . You should definitely book in advance as when I went to book the remainder of July was sold out. However, I calmly stalked the website and managed to get a cancellation.
So Ger (my husband) me and my two children aged 5 and 9 set off- laden down with snacks, drinks and changes of clothes. There are no facilities whatsoever on the island so you have to plan and bring enough to keep the kids quiet for 4 hours as the ferry drops you off and then comes back for you again 4 hours later.
The reason for the cancellations soon became clear as it was lashing rain. The Irish summer was out in full force and despite our raincoats, we were soaked through before we even arrived. Once you get close to the island you transfer to a dinghy and they bring you as close to shore as they can. Out you hop and off you go. We climbed over the island in our search for puffins. As it was late July our captain had said all the puffins might be gone. But we were in luck. Someone pointed on little puffin out to us through the rain and we followed his trail. We came around the cliff and found them nesting on the cliff edge.
They are the cutest, funniest little creatures. I actually sat on the soaking wet ground for hours watching them soaring and waddling. I am a baby photographer and trust me it is very different to sitting on the side of a cliff but it was such an incredible experience. I loved every minute of it. You must stay at least 6 metres from the birds but one little guy, we called him Neil (and Jenny Colgan fans?) waddled right up to where we sat. The island was beautiful even on this cold, grey day so I would imagine it is absolutely breath-taking on a sunny summer’s day.
I hope you enjoy some of the images I managed to take. I already can’t wait to go back next year.